Intro

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I come from a long line of entrepreneurs. My grandfather came to America at the age of 18 from the Netherlands. He spoke no English but was fully equipped with determination and charm as he managed to woo and marry my grandmother within his first year in the states. He is a brilliant and generous man who continues to run several successful companies and still makes his way into the office every day.

My father started his business when I was born. I am the last of three kids. Now having children of my own I see what an immense challenge my parents faced. The business has thrived and is in its 27th year. My dad has much to be proud of.

By the age of 7 I had caught the business bug. In my career I have sold lemonade, wild flowers, painted cards & flower pots and handcrafted jewelry made from polymer clay. While all the other little girls were playing with dolls and painting their faces with their mother’s make-up my best friend and I were playing “store” and dreaming of our future careers as cartoonists, teachers, designers, etc.

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In my life I am never devoid of a goal. I set them high and work like mad to accomplish them. Nothing is too lofty or unattainable. Along the way, my equally goal-orientated father has taught me on several occasions that the goal itself is not the reward. It is in the journey.

The journey.

In the journey there is learning. Every part of my being is opened up, awake and alive. With the excitement of a child I am eager to devour anything I can that will inch me closer to the goal. Bumps and bruises are expected but they make the end that much more anticipated and celebrated.

You imagine all will be well when the goal has been reached. “I will be happy when _______ (fill in the blank)”. You get to the end and now what? The goal has been accomplished and you may relish in it briefly but moments later a new goal is set and a new journey begins.

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As to be expected currently I have many goals but one particular Sunday a couple of weeks ago I realized that I am beginning to understand what for years my father has been trying to teach me – Enjoy the journey.

Sunday was a day to delight in. A humbling and joyful message heard, a smooth ride across the sound while one child slept and the other was filled with an acquisitive joy. Sun. Berries. New friends. Re-united with old friends. Swings. Kids. Pork. Fat. Salt and sugar.

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I attribute this new phase of life called parenting for forcing me to enjoy the journey. Parenting has proven to be the most thrilling, painful, joyous and utterly exhausting journey I have ever embarked on. It has forced me to put other goals on hold to fulfill one of my most important goals of all – raising children.

In the midst of the tantrums and disciplines, the bumps and band-aids I see this phase as one that is fleeting. Some days I find great hope and pleasure in this other days I hold them tight and pray that this moment will never cease.

I have to remind myself daily to stop. Breathe. And enjoy the journey.

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So now back to Sunday. The day that caused me to smile and pause long enough to realize these days are precious, vital and make this journey so sweet. It was Pork that united us. Shauna (a.k.a. Gluten-Free Girl) invited my family and I to their beautiful home to enjoy a Pork Potluck. Anticipating many savory dishes I opted to contribute something sweet – which of course comes at little or no surprise. But this sweet needed to stick to the guidelines of being studded with a portion of pork.

No problem. We all know that I am a sucker for all things sweet and savory. And really who can argue with the marriage of a smokey, savory and salty bacon cooked until completely crisp then tossed into a sweet and creamy caramel flavored with maple syrup and dark brown sugar? I guess there probably are a few people who might argue with this union but until you pop one of these chewy candies into your mouth you have no platform on which to proclaim your disgust. a.k.a. Don’t knock it ’till you try it.

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I casually sprinkled the thick-cut Hempler’s bacon with cayenne before frying to a nearly blackened crisp. Once the caramel had reached its perfect molten temperature I stirred in a handful of the bacon then reserved the rest to get sprinkled on top. The caramel set beautifully. Some were cut and served as is while a select few were covered in tempered dark chocolate. All of them were devoured.

Bacon Caramel

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup corn syrup

1/2 cup butter

1 cup heavy cream, divided

1/4 cup maple syrup

Bacon fried to a crisp. The amount is up to you. I used 8-12 strips of thick-cut bacon. I REALLY love bacon.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the heavy cream. Combine all the other ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Stir to combine. Set on medium high heat. Stir occasionally and cook until 240*. The candy is now at firm-ball stage. Remove from the stove and carefully stir in the remaining 1/2 cup cream. Place back on the heat and continue to cook to 245*. Immediately remove from heat and stir in a portion of the crispy bacon. Pour the caramel into a buttered dish (the size depends on how thick you want your caramels. 8×8 = thick caramels 9×13 = thin caramels. You can also use a cookie sheet). Scatter the remaining bacon on top. Let set for at least 3 hours before cutting.

Wherever you are in the process of fulfilling your goals I do hope that these caramels inspire you to take a moment to stop, chew and savor the journey. It is, after all, the best part.

Some of the current family businesses:

DandyChicken.com

BaronBeef.com

csbaron.com

LynneBaronDesign.com

Northwest Washington Fair

Gabriel Boone Photography

Baron & Company

Pier Systems

Crisisblogger

SidBaron.com

Kira Baron Photography

ExxelPacific.com

Gerald Baron Writings

Jake’s Western Bar & Grill

 

102 Responses to “Bacon Caramels”

  1. Allison Day

    *swoon*

    Those sound fantastic! I’m a sucker for anything bacon, and though I’ve never had bacon in a sweet application like this, my mouth is watering as I imagine just how amazing it would taste. The sweet, the salty… perhaps a little crunch from the bacon in the gooey caramel… oh, yum.

    Reply
  2. Cookie

    What a yummy combination of salty and sweet! I would’ve NEVER thought of bacon and caramel but they sound perfect together!

    Reply
  3. we are never full

    not quite sure what to say about this. ijust wish i had a big bowl of these to pop in my mouth. one of my favorite combos is bacon with my pancakes and syrup. this is almost the same combo of flavors. very beautiful and very creative.

    Reply
  4. Deborah

    First, your Golden Crunch Cake post was the sweetest ever. I keep meaning to say that. This one… wow. I wouldn’t follow any other person down this path. But I trust you. You are good at what you do. I wish I was there to try them. Looking forward to our next bottle of Lelite (?) in Grandma’s basement!

    Reply
  5. Alex

    Wow, those pictures are amazing. They make it look so good that i drooled my computer wet 😉

    Reply
  6. alice

    Oh Ashley, these were the best caramels ever! Just seeing them on your blog makes me want them even more (again)! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    Reply
  7. Nick

    These caramels are a great idea. I saw this yesterday and had to go home and make them. A few tips for others:
    1) Definately make the bacon very crisp as recommended above. Some of my bacon was not as crisp as it could have been and after adding to the caramel, it tasted kinda stringy.
    2) I used double applewood smoked thick bacon. Next time I think I would use something like maple bacon which I think would be much tastier.
    3) I put too much cayenne. It wasn’t too spicy for me, but just kinda odd.

    Great recipe…must try!

    Reply
  8. Calisson

    Sounds amazing….

    How much bacon should you fry up first? (Maybe I missed the quantity, but I couldn’t find it.)

    Have you tried Moe’s bacon chocolate bars? Also amazing….

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      That’s a great question I did somewhere between 8-12 strips of thick-cut bacon. It’s a matter of preference. As you can see in the pictures they are not lacking in quantity of bacon. I only used the really crispy parts and munched on the others.
      Nick – Thanks for your great tips!! That is very helpful.

      Reply
  9. Kristen

    Enjoy the journey… something that is so often forgotten because we are so focused on the end result. Great reminder and fantastic bacon caramel!

    Reply
  10. Jamie

    May sound a bit strange at first, but I’ll bet these are just delightful! I might have to give making these a try!

    Reply
  11. Brandi Bailey

    hey! those do sound quite interesting! i would love to try it sometime for sure! and i just have to say that you forgot a LOT of the family businesses! 😉 haha….the hotels, the restaurant, Justin & I both have our own businesses as well! 🙂 pretty crazy how many there are huh? i know you couldn’t get them all I just had to be obnoxious. sorry! hope you’re having a good day! love you! ps…how did your friend like the brownies!? i’ve been curious! mine said they didn’t taste like they were gluten-free! bonus!

    Reply
  12. StuffCooksWant

    What an interesting and unusual combination. Love the sweet / salty combo, like chocolate covered pretzels… until I realized that I couldn’t eat the pretzels w/o having serious issues. Now I can try bacon-studded caramels… woo hoo. can’t wait to try them.

    Reply
  13. jasmine

    I have a card pinned to one of my cube walls that says “Happiness is the journey, not a destination.” It helps keep me grounded…that and the Dogbert “Worship me” drawing.

    I know someone who would *love* these…I must see what I can do to get some to him.

    j

    Reply
  14. Sam

    Oh my goodness…what delicious salty sweet decadence!!! My mother adores bacon, and caramel, I’m going to have to try these out for her next visit!

    Reply
  15. Aran

    I completely relate to what you are saying. What it means to leave one’s goals to the side to put children first. It can be a difficult thing to go through but so rewarding. I get it now.

    Reply
  16. wan-nabe

    i just made a batch and am waiting for them to set/cool. i tasted the little ball i used to test for firmness (my thermometer is less than reliable), and the flavor is AMAZING. i can’t wait to have a whole piece and try it drizzled in dark chocolate! my blog readers are gonna flip. thank youu!

    Reply
  17. matt

    you are insane.

    Insanely good. Another great creative idea for you. Never seen this done before. Gonna have to make it.

    Reply
  18. Jooooolia

    I can’t wait to make these! I’m throwing a surprise party for my husband (who also loves bacon… enough to get a bacon tattoo!) and this is definitely a treat I won’t forget to include. Thank you so much for the beautiful recipe, and wonderful pictures. Keep rocking!

    Reply
  19. Jim

    I’m new to cooking. What does it mean when you say 1 cup of cream, divided? And then later say reserve 1/2 cup of cream? Does that mean put just 1/2 a cup in the mix initially? If so, when do I add the reserved 1/2?

    Reply
  20. Jim

    Ignore my last comment. Better yet, delete it. I obviously didn’t read carefully at all. Love the blog.

    Reply
  21. Selmelier

    Wow, I’m just finding this blog for the first time and already addicted. One idea: try it with Iburi Jio Cherry smoked salt, which has it’s own pungent, bacony aroma and a fresh taste. It’s delicious on regular caramels and would be awesome on these bacon caramels.

    Reply
  22. Kim

    Ok I must be the odd ball here but those just look nasty! They look like bacon in a block of bacon fat! I love bacon and I also love caramel….but together?! OMG no way! To each their own I suppose – i am thoroughly enjoying the rest of your site.

    Reply
  23. JK

    Hi 🙂 I was hoping to make these for a party this weekend (they look delicious!). How far in advance can these be prepared??

    Reply
  24. Foodhogger

    Ooooh, wow, fantastic! Love the blog and this post. That certainly looks yummy. I recently tried some bacon chocolate and it was a tad salty..and I’m still unsure if I enjoyed it or not…haha! I’m a huge bacon fan, though so this is quite tempting to try!
    -FH

    Reply
  25. lizette

    i made these last night and they are a hit at work today! i used much less bacon (5 slices) so it is pretty subtle but still delicious. next time i may try more bacon – throw caution to the wind!

    Reply
  26. Geof

    Oooooooh. This sounds good. But very bad. (Definitely not for those in Weight Watchers.) But you know what? Who cares! Savor the journey, right? (;

    Anyway, question: why do you need to cook the bacon to a crisp?

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Geof – Savor the journey – I like that! I cooked the bacon very crispy because I wanted to have a nice crunchy texture that would compliment the chewy caramel. I didn’t want people to have to chew on the bacon and the caramel. Play on texture and salt/sweet.

      Reply
  27. Arwen

    These look amazing and I would love to make them very very soon.
    Do you have any thoughts on substitutions for the corn syrup? I have a person with a corn allergy in my household and would hate to tell him he can’t try these if it is possible to make them another way?

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Arwen – let me try and give you an answer without getting too carried away with the science of sugar. In these caramels the corn syrup is present to aid in the prevention of crystalization, for texture and preservation. Corn syrup is an invert sugar – which doesn’t crystalize like granulated sugar does. You can make your own invert sugar (search invert sugar on Wikipedia) or substitute corn syrup for brown rice syrup, honey, maple syrup, or golden syrup. All of these options are going to change the flavor of the caramels – but some, like the maple syrup, might be a nice addition.
      This is a great link for more info. http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/corn-syrup-questions.htm
      Let me know how it goes!

      Reply
  28. Arwen

    Made these this weekend. Fantastic!
    I subbed golden syrup for the corn syrup and they are perfect.

    Reply
  29. Cindy

    My mouth is watering right now. Those photos are not enough to satisfy! 🙂 I’ve had bacon chocolate before (which was delish), so I can only assume bacon caramels are just as yummy. I know what I’ll be working on this weekend…..

    Thank you for the lovely recipe!

    Reply
  30. papawow

    OMG I may be able to die happy once I have some of these. What a diabolical idea. Did you come up with these in order to institute a new world order?

    Reply
  31. Trein naar Londen

    Very good, i made these last night and they are a hit at work today! i used much less bacon (5 slices) so it is pretty subtle but still delicious. next time i may try more bacon. In all this is very good tasty!

    Reply
  32. Randy

    I made a batch of these last night and the flavor was awesome! There was a tiny issue in that when I went to cut them in the pan this morning the caramel was too soft. When making the batch I had a digital thermometer so my temps should have been about right. Any tips on making them a bit more firm?

    Reply
  33. Rhody

    i’ve been making these ever since i read here about them. they are the biggest hit at my job since my cinnamon fudge. folks here didn’t think of bacon as a dessert item till now. as Ted Allen of “Chopped” once said, “two words in english language that go with everything, Bac Con.”

    i even tweaked it by using pecan maple syrup and adding minced pesans pieces to it. it was too good to not share with my coworkers. lol

    Reply
  34. Ayırma Büyüsü

    Very thank for sharing your posts and you review.many people have replyed here,and i would like to take part in.I’d like to share a Proverb with each
    other one here that is:Every day of thy life is a leaf in thy history. A Proverbs wiht great sense,i hope everyone would learn something from it.

    Reply
  35. Ivy

    I just made thsi! It is yummy! I have been blogging for some time, but just started a food blog, and will be mentioning this! Thank you for sharing the recipe. 🙂

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      @Ivy – So glad you you brave enough to try them. 😉 I just read your post!!! I’m so sorry about the burn! That’s horrible. At least you have caramels to comfort you.

      Reply
  36. Johanna

    I googled your website after seeing your commercial! What great press 🙂
    This is such a fantastic website !

    Reply
  37. Staci L.

    Caramel was my first homemade candy making experience about 2months ago. Your blog inspired me to try adding bacon to my recipe and they turned out deliciously. I used salted butter and dark corn syrup to enhance the flavor. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  38. Gordon

    If you can try to find bacon from grass fed free range pastured pigs because pastured raised pigs give you a lot better tasting bacon then conventional pork.

    Reply
  39. boise blinds

    This has to be the greatest thing I’ve ever seen on the Internet. Actually I had a bacon cupcake once, which was pretty good. I would love to try these caramels.

    Reply
  40. Melissa

    Found this last week and made them yesterday. They taste fantastic, but I was unable to get mine to set well w/o sticking them in the fridge. And when I take them out, they lose shape. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Melissa – That most likely has to do with the temperature your caramel was cooked to. So glad you like the taste, if you make them again try cooking just a touch longer. Thanks!

      Reply
  41. Ashley

    I made these today and must have done something wrong because they ended up being rock hard! I used a candy thermometer and followed the instructions. Any ideas? Not sure if altitude plays a role?

    Reply
  42. Sarah

    Thank you so much for sharing this receipe. My family has really enjoyed them. Dipped some in chocolate.

    Reply
  43. villas

    Hey there! I’ve been reading your web site for a while now and
    finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Tx!

    Just wanted to say keep up the excellent work!

    Reply
  44. Victoria

    I have a question about the bacon.
    Do we drain the bacon first, then add it to the caramel mixture, or toss it in there — bits, grease and all?

    Reply

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